wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestions)

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zardoz677
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wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestions)

Post by zardoz677 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:47 am

So after recently jumping into the world of hardware getting my first synth a few months ago, I am noticing a real creative advantage for myself at least with regards to being able to turn away from the screen and just use my ears, maybe other people have noticed this as well, I dont know... anyways I am wanting to get a reasonably inexpensive hardware sampler (for around a few hundred or less..) and I was thinking about the 303, what does everyone think?


Also my experience with sampling has basically been limited to messing with chopping stuff in ableton as well as the nnxt and dr octo rex in reason. What sorts of things should I consider in terms of differences when getting into hardware? Does it basically work where you record your sound directly into the sampler with rca plugs and then just chop it up on screen and start with having fun or do you have to some how load it on there from an external audio editor? I guess basically what Im concerned about is whether or not this will be a huge shock to the system or if it will be pretty intuitive and strait forward...


*Note: I know some people may be quick to ask why I want to get a hardware device when I have ableton and reason which may have more options, however I love to have a device I can have in my hands without staring at my laptop all the time!!!

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Re: wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestion

Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:16 am

I'd strongly recommend the 404SX over the 303, it's only a little bit more expensive but is hugely more usable.

Re: chopping things in the sampler vs chopping on computer and loading to the sampler, they each have their pros and cons. If you have a set idea about what you want to do it's easier to do it in the computer but if you want to play around with things the sampler can be more fun and give you unexpected results sometimes.

Not sure on how exactly it works on the 303 but on the 404SX you save your sample as a .wav and then drag and drop it to the SD card with the 404 editor program, it's really simple.

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Re: wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestion

Post by Hugo76 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:31 pm

Also, the 404SX doesn't compress the samples, as the rest of the sp range. I still want to recommend a look at the sp-606, I've never noticed any lesser sound quality, tbh. On the sp-606 you get a better screen with more info, and easier, more visible editing. You can also pan the samples, which, to my knowledge, is not found on any of the other sp's. Another big plus is two simultaneous efx, plus the d-beam. Shorter sampling time, though, with 512mbcards as max, but due to the r-dac compression you still get a lot of sample time.

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Re: wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestion

Post by th0mas » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:52 pm

I have the SP-303. It's kinda fun for the price, the FX are really great. Sampling is slow (to save to card). Importing is easy if you can find a smartmedia adapter, you just save the WAV's to the card and then there's a function on the unit to "import wav's to sp-303 format" and then it loads the WAV's and re-saves them as an SP-303 bank.

You can button mash out beats and loops but using the sequencer isn't really worth it. I still have mine but will be getting rid of it now that I have an octatrack.

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Re: wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestion

Post by meatballfulton » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:19 pm

SP-303 uses Smart Media that's $$$ for cards or use the xD card workaround.

Unless you can get the 303 for less than $200 it's easier to get a used 404 (uses CF cards, pay $200) or 404SX (uses SD, pay $300) for which cards are plentiful and cheap. SX adds librarian software.

I really hate flash memory :twisted:
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Re: wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestion

Post by mp3 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:06 am

I can totally relate on the using your ears instead of your eyes" angle. However, its not all rosy on the hardware side either. Picking the wrong sampler can be as big of a detriment to your workflow as staring at a laptop is. The last thing you want is a sampler that requires a bunch of left brain work. So the first thing to look for is ease of use and speed of workflow.

Another thing you should be sure of is what type of sampling musician are you. If you're mostly using prefab loops and samples, then you'd probably be better off sticking with software. But if you're the type to actually sample stuff (they call us samplists in some circles), then a piece of hardware might just be a revelation to you.

The older the sampler, the less computer-friendly it is, generally speaking. So you need to determine how important that is to you. To me, using software for sampling/editing defeats the purpose of using a hardware sampler in the first place, so its not much of a concern for me. YMMV.

Anyway that's enough background. Recommendations:

If you're looking for the old school experience, the quickest samplers in terms of going from capture to map to play, are the EMU EMAX and the Ensoniq ASR-X. The only potential downside is that the old school stuff normally doesn't offer any type of autoslicing (which suits me just fine, but hey I'm a hardware sampling kind of guy).

If you want a waveform display (which goes against the using your ears paradigm but I digress) then I would recommend an Akai MPC1000 or S-series of recent vintage (S5000/S6000 or Z4/Z8). They're all relatively easy to use, but the MPC1000 is significantly less menu-driven (but less capable - until you get JJOS that is) than its rackmount cousins. Other options include the Roland MC909 and Yamaha RS7000.

If you're interested in the Roland SPs (which are a great choice...), then some alternatives include the Korg MicroSampler and the Zoom Sampletrak.

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Re: wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestion

Post by meatballfulton » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:50 pm

The Zoom ST224 Sampletrak was my first sampler and the best thing about it is the price...$100 used, don't pay more.

It has MIDI bugs when synchronizing the sequencer and it needs obsolete low-capacity SM cards (8MB?) which are relatively expensive on eBay. Cards are the only way to get data out of the machine BTW.

It opened my eyes to the possibilities of sampling but I don't miss it at all. After 2 months with it I bought a Motif ES and never looked back.
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Re: wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestion

Post by zardoz677 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:14 am

seriously thanks allot for the info folks this does help out allot. I am definitely not into the prefab loops as much as I am into taking bits of music and mangling it. I know this sounds like a stupid reason behind my sampler choice of the sp303 but the thing is, that it seems that many of my favourite musicians use it (flying lotus, four tet). Are the cards that expensive?

Also, Looking at some of those vintage samplers, they dont even look like they have buttons on them for punching out a melody, I dont get it..... One requirement of mine is some sort of hands on function where I can have slices assigned to buttons and play a melody by hand while tweaking effects if possible. I will look into those others though for sure!

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Re: wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestion

Post by DLovas » Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:17 am

I myself have been thinking of acquiring a hardware sampler as well - although I find myself in favor of just saving up $1300 for the previously mentioned Octatrack.

IMO as long as you do significant research on a given product, you will choose something that will satisfy you greatly - even if its just for the interim.

That's been the case with all of my purchases.

good luck. :thumbleft:

Also, I see no issue with you basing a purchase off of what your favorite artists use. Usually when i buy a product, my favorite artists are quite the factor in tipping the balance - It gives you a sense of... insurance. If you know your fav artists use something, then you know its reputable. I dunno thats just how i see it.

once again good luck - let us know what you decide!

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Re: wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestion

Post by Hugo76 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:51 am

zardoz677 wrote:seriously thanks allot for the info folks this does help out allot. I am definitely not into the prefab loops as much as I am into taking bits of music and mangling it. I know this sounds like a stupid reason behind my sampler choice of the sp303 but the thing is, that it seems that many of my favourite musicians use it (flying lotus, four tet). Are the cards that expensive?

Also, Looking at some of those vintage samplers, they dont even look like they have buttons on them for punching out a melody, I dont get it..... One requirement of mine is some sort of hands on function where I can have slices assigned to buttons and play a melody by hand while tweaking effects if possible. I will look into those others though for sure!
The SmartMedia cards are quite expensive, don't offer more than max 128mb, and can be somewhat fragile (although I haven't personally had any problems).

If you want to bang out melodies with the sampler, you'd be best off with one that can play samples chromatically. I'm quite sure you can't do that on the 303. You might want to check out the upgraded Korg Esx1 instead, might be more useful for your needs.

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Re: wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestion

Post by nogginj » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:13 pm

a hardware sampler usually connects to a midi keyboard, that's why you dont see too many with buttons on them.

some are even built into keyboards but we are getting into older territory there.

another option is the korg es1 / esx - both have plenty of 'buttons' on them for playing straight on the box.

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Re: wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestion

Post by Voodoo Ray » Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:03 am

mp3 wrote:I can totally relate on the using your ears instead of your eyes" angle. However, its not all rosy on the hardware side either. Picking the wrong sampler can be as big of a detriment to your workflow as staring at a laptop is. The last thing you want is a sampler that requires a bunch of left brain work. So the first thing to look for is ease of use and speed of workflow.
+1

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Re: wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestion

Post by balma » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:46 pm

Korg Electribe ESX-1 or Ensoniq ASR-1.

The korg Electribe has a limited memory and all the tracks are monophonic. But it´s a blast for composing simple tracks, and almost any synth player can find a place for it on its setup. They are very intuitive, easy to use, and they sound good. SImple synthesis but well integrated with a sequencing system.
Wit the memory full, you can have 300-350 samples, and there´s no patch database, it depends of the settings of each pattern. The track settings define how the sample sounds.
they are cheap, easy to get, and pure fun.
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Re: wanting to get a hardware sampler (sp 303? or suggestion

Post by sequentialsoftshock » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:30 am

mp3 wrote: want a waveform display (which goes against the using your ears paradigm but I digress)

Not entirely. Just because I use the waveform display on my 2000XL to fine tune, doesn't negate anything. I want my sample to be cut the way I hear it. Big deal?
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